Princeton Tec Fred
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $24
This headlamp does everything I need it to!
- 4 levels of brightness: 2 white, 2 red
- Red LED
- Won't take lithium cells.
- None that I can find. Still waiting for first set of batteries to die.
This is the 4th headlamp I've owned, and is hands down, the brightest, by far. I was torn between the BD Spot and the PT Fuel, but felt I didn't need 4 levels of brightness from a white LED. I was also able to buy it locally to try out, unlike the Spot, which would have been ordered. My old Rayovac (which I've had to fix numerous times) is now unreliable, so I felt a replacement was necessary.
I bought the Fred with backpacking in mind, but use a headlamp, on average, 4-5 nights a week, for up to an hour each night to split and haul wood to the house during the winter. In addition to that, we're still remodelling our house, so it has to pull triple duty if I'm in the attic or basement, fixing something.
As I said, the light has done everything I've asked of it over the past 4 months, and hasn't let me down. It has a rubber coated switch on the housing that, when depressed, immediately turns on low-red LED mode. If it is depressed again, within a second or so, it will go into bright-red-LED mode, which I've used on occasion to load wood.
I found both red modes usefull while backpacking on the AT a few weekends ago. I was with 5 other friends and was able to see to prep my bivy without ruining my night vision (it was a super clear, cold, starry night). Holding the switch down for approximately 2 seconds turns on the low-white LED. This has been all I've needed for loading and splitting wood.
On white-low, I can easily see 20-30 yards - more than enough. Depressing the switch a second time once in low-white mode turns on high-white mode. I decided to try this mode while on the AT. I took a short hike away from our shelter area, and was surprised at how far the light could reach. I could easily see each white blaze on the trail. Will I use it for a night hike on the AT? Unlikely - but it's nice to know I could if I had to.
The light is based on the PT Fuel, and uses three AAA batteries. On my scale, it weighs 2.8 ounces with batteries, a full 2 onces less than my old Rayovac.
The only minus I could find is that the light will not accept lithium batteries. I emailed Princeton Tec and was told to use conventional batteries only. Regarding some of the problems others have had with the Fuel (ie. turning on in the pack and broken battery covers) I haven't had any problems.
It didn't turn on in my pack while hiking 12+ miles, and, I've only ever placed the original batteries in it, which currently have an estimated 24 hours on them, with no dimming. The cold had no affect on it either. I awoke at about 0400 needing to relieve myself and noticed my water bottle was frozen, the Fred (sitting beside it) turned on no problem, again, with no dimming.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this light for an all-around, reliable headlamp.
Did I mention it was made in the USA?
Where to Buy
Here's what other sites are saying:
With an increased demand for red lighting to preserve night vision, Princeton Tec created the Fred from the Fuel. Utilizing the exact same ergonomic and lightweight styling of the Fuel, the Fred enables you to preserve night vision with the substitution of a Red LED for one of the white. Always turns on in the low mode of the Red LED To enable the three white LEDs, hold the button down for 1.5 seconds
For years, the Fuel headlamp has been a staple in the outdoor lighting industry With an increased demand for red lighting to preserve night vision, we listened,and the Fred was born Utilizing the exact same ergonomic and lightweight styling of the Fuel, the Fred enables you to preserve night vision with the substitution of a Red LED for one of the white The Fred will always turn on in the low mode of the Red LED, so you never have to accidently blind yourself or any other people To enable the three white LEDs, just hold the button down for 1 5 seconds FRED
The Princeton Tec Fred headlamp lights up the trail with 45-lumen white flood beam, and it has a red LED to preserve your night vision when you're around camp. Fred headlamp always turns on the red-light mode so you won't ruin your night vision; hold down the push button to switch between the 1 red LED or the 3 ultrabright white LEDs. 3 ultrabright white LEDs throw a flood beam up to 35m on high and 20m on low; red LED reaches 10m on high and 8m on low. 3 AAA batteries (included) provide 180 hrs. of run time with the red LED on low and 145 hrs. with the white LEDs on low. Switch to high and the batteries give you 100 hrs. with the red LED and 74 hrs. with the white LEDs. Single-arm ratcheting head pivots up and down, providing a wide range of motion so you can aim the beam wherever you need it most. Large push-button switch is easily operated while wearing gloves. The Princeton Tec Fred headlamp has a water-resistant design.
Princeton Tec's Fuel headlamp has been a staple in the headlamp world for years. The Fred takes the Fuel to the next level by replacing one of the white LED's with a more camp-friendly red LED, so you don't get in another fist fight this summer because you blinded a fellow camper.